Here’s wishing all of you out there in the Blogiverse the happiest of holidays. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who stop by to have a read and a listen – you’re the best! I mean that sincerely. So don’t take it personally when I tell you that I’m taking a bit of a vacation from now until New Years. Will I be lounging on some beach? Schussing down a slope? No, and no. I’m planning on spending most of it finishing off the sequel to my first book of music trivia (the book for which this blog is named). I have one more chapter and some proofing left to do, and I just need to buckle down. So until we meet again on January the first, 2009, I’ll leave you with a couple of vintage tidbits.
For Christmas, here is the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry, with one of my very favorite Christmas songs, “Thirty Two Feet and Eight Little Tails of White.” (date unknown but probably the somewhere in the 50s)
And for New Years, here a clip from Dick Clark’s “New Years Rock’ Eve.” It’s the earliest one I found on YouTube, dating back to 1985. As Dick says, it was already the 13th annual NYRE, which puts the starting date back to (where’s my abacus) 1972! Too bad we don’t have a clip of that one, but you’ll still get a hoot out of all the “big stars” that were part of the entertainment lineup. Ah, where are they now…
Photos from Shutterstock Videos from 1)mummysrus 2) PHILLYmediaWATCH
Ah, the sixties. Nothing like it for sheer style and entertainment. If you don't believe me, just feast your eyes on this little production - a mini-skirted Mitzi Gaynor with a delightful foot-stompin' finger-poppin' version of "We Need a Little Christmas" (from the Broadway show, Mame). Is this not retro-tastic! I'm a big Mitzi Gaynor fan, starting with her film role in South Pacific. Apparently she will be touring a show in 2009 in North America, so we're in for a treat.
This clip is from Mitzi's 1967 TV special, The Mitzi Gaynor Christmas Show.
Video by YT member MissMitziGaynor Photo of my tree!
I was visiting someone's blog this morning, totally unconnected to oldies or music in general, but the blogger did ask visitors to leave the title of their favorite rain song in their comment. That got me thinking about what my favorite rain song might be. I like rain, and I like rain songs. So, here, in no particular order, is my list of top vintage rain songs, plus a video of Ronettes photos accompanying their 1964 hit, "Walking in the Rain." See how many of these songs jog your memory. What favorites would you add that I don't have?
1) Walking in the Rain - The Ronettes 2) Raindrops - Dee Clark 3) Rain on the Roof - The Lovin' Spoonful 4) Riders on the Storm - The Doors 5) Rhapsody in the Rain - Lou Christie 6) Rhythm of the Rain - The Cascades 7) Cryin' in the Rain - The Everly Brothers 8) I Wish It Would Rain - The Temptations 9) Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) - Melanie 10) Who'll Stop The Rain - CCR
Okay, here the girls...
Video by YT member JKRXBACK Photo - my back yard, aka Lake Erie
Now, please don’t get upset with me if you really love this song. I don’t mind if myself. Honest. But if we can’t make fun of the things we love and/or don’t mind once in a while, then what’s the point of even getting out of bed in the morning, right? So, while we’re in the make-fun mode, let’s be brutally honest. Hasn’t this song always reminded you of some of life’s more distressing moments? Moments like: 1) your 10-year high school reunion, which actually took place in the same smelly old scuff-marked gym (who's bright idea was that?) and for which someone hired your best buddy’s "cover band" who (you finally admit it) sucked back in the day, and have only played together twice since graduation 2) all the really ugly bridesmaid dresses you ever danced in at weddings with really bad cover bands 3) taking that sweet, special someone to “Reservoir Dogs” without knowing anything about it first 4) dateless nights spent with a bag of microwave popcorn watching episodes of Ally McBeal with that creepy dancing baby 4) Listerine commercial flashbacks 5) David Hasselhoff flashbacks.
Enough of that.
I guess you could say that this song is deeply embedded in popular culture. It was initially recorded in 1969 by B.J. Thomas (accompanied by that funky electric sitar) but it’s the cover by the group Blue Swede (from Sweden, surprise!) with that opening chorus of (spellings vary) “ooga chukka, ooga chukka” that cemented this song’s (along with our own) fate. Below are two videos of "Hooked on a Feeling" for your nostalgic listening pleasure/pain. One is a kind of trippy visual tour of a jukebox that Quentin Tarantino would no doubt appreciate. The second, which is mercifully very short, is of the dancing baby. Where will this song turn up next?
Videos by YT members pigmygoatzdotcom (jukebox) and bwair (baby) Photo at www.maurine.com//baby.htm (in case you are a total retro addict and just have to have this as your screensaver)
It looks like Dee-troit, the Motor City, my beloved home town, is one baby step closer to getting some cash. So, I figured, whatever your politics may be, what better segway is there for listening to one of the truly great car songs of the vintage era - "Little Duece Coupe" by The Beach Boys. And, if you'll permit me to brag just a teensy-weensy little bit, I can sing along with this song without missing a word, I am so completely down with the lyrics. If you happened to have read the book for which this blog is named (hey, a little self-promotion never hurt anybody) then you may recall the section on car songs, and "hot rod porn" in particular. The Beach Boys were responsible for a good deal of it, but not all. But... "porn" you say? Oh yeah. Some of those cars songs from the '60s had really technical automobile parts lyrics - songs that lovingly mentioning all the tricked-out features of the singer's car, designed to make teen guys' hearts beat fast just hearing those sexy words. You still think I'm exaggerating? Check out these lines from "409"...
To get the traction I'm ridin' the clutch My pressure plate's burnin' my machine's too much
He's hot with ram induction but it's understood I got a fuel injected engine sittin' under my hood
Oh baby! Okay, let's cool off and take a trip back to yesteryear, and listen to "Little Deuce Coupe." As you know, I often look for vintage performances when searching YouTube, but this one caught my eye. It's "Little Deuce Coupe" set to scenes from the modern classic movie (and another big fave of mine) Men In Black.
Video by YT member DoctorDeath88 Photo is of my baby, nicknamed The O.C. (for Orange Crush). It's a '65.
Dennis Yost, the gentle-voiced lead singer of the Classics IV (and a Detroit native) has died at the age of 65. The Classics IV had a number of 1960s hits, famously including "Spooky," "Stormy" and the sweetly sad "Traces." Who didn't recall a face or two listening to that one? Thanks for the music, Dennis.
Recently, I was watching an episode of the new show, Crash (spin-off of sorts of the movie by the same name. Not the one by Cronenberg. I mean the Crash that got best picture in ’05. At the end they played a song that had me jotting down lyrics as quickly as possible so I might have a chance of finding out what it was. After a short search, I lucked out and arrived on the musical doorstep of a Detroit group called The Go. Who knew? Well, since they already have a good rep across the States, and have at least three albums out, the answer to that question is, "Not me!"
Part of the reason for this lapse is that these days I’ve pretty much given up on contemporary pop music. If I’m not listening to my vintage oldies, I’m sticking pretty close to the alt folk and/or alt country scene – Neko Case, Cat Power, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, the Be Good Tanyas – and pop like Coldplay and Five for Fighting. No pop princesses, no Fitty, no Diddy. I don’t look down on those who like it; it’s just not for me. So imagine my surprise when I heard The Go. I felt like everything was going to be all right again.
The Go have been compared to many 60s and 70s classic bands. I hear hints from the Stones, Hendrix, some early 60s rock and even early Beatles. Oh, and throw in a little T-Rex while we’re at it. The list goes on; everybody hears something of his or her personal favorites, too. But The Go’s music can’t be dismissed as simply derivative. Their not just retreads of the golden oldies. This stuff manages to kick out the jams 21st Century style while still sounding like an album you could have, would have, bought and worn out on your record player decades ago. The song that I heard on Crash is called “So Long Johnny” from the album Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride. Hmmm, I wish they would’ve consulted me before they went with that title… Oh well, anyway, a video of the song “So Long Johnny” is on YouTube twice, but they are both such shakey recordings, musically and visually, I don’t feel right about posting them here as an example for you, my valued readers. Obviously you can check it out for yourselves if so inclined. I will put in a URL to Amazon.com so you can hear clips of each song on the album.
The other day when I was listening to the oldies station on my dish, they played Jackie Wilson’s hit, “Reet Petite.” Great song! It reminded me of when I was researching one of the chapters in my soon-to-be-published (fall of ’09) second book of music trivia, and was looking up the term “reet.” Reet, it turns out, is just a slangy jazz-era way of saying “right.” So, when Jackie sings, “She’s all right” and “reet petite” he’s really saying pretty much the same thing. But the ladies aren’t the only gender that employs the word reet. Reet is also applied to the special pleats in men’s zoot suit pants in the same jazz era. Ah, those were the days. Of course, in African-American culture, zoot suits and reet pleats are making a comeback, if they ever really went that far away. So look for males to be once again bedecked in the glory that is, to quote the lyrics from the musical Hair (see video below) the birthright of their sex. In other species males have the grandest plumage, the manes, the antlers etc. It’s only we humans where the males stick to those gray 6-piece suits all the time. But I digress. I think we should not only bring back the fashion of the era, but the slang as well.
So, I want to start hearing some reets out there. You can rhyme it up the way Jackie does. Like, “That is one reet sweet new pair of hip-waders you got there Bob” “Thanks, Phil. My Gladys got ‘em for me; I tell you that woman is reet petite and out of seet”
Okay, just don’t get too carried away.
Here he is, Mr. Entertainment, Jackie Wilson.
And here also, for your interest, is "My Conviction” from the 1960s musical Hair.
Photo from http://images.buycostumes.com Jackie Wilson video by YT member oldies55 Hair video by YT member ObsessiveBeatles
Another great voice of our times, often referred to as the "Voice of the Civil Rights Movement" is stilled with the passing of the legendary Odetta. Older baby boomers will remember her for her stirring folk songs that influenced all the early balladeers like Dylan and Baez, and for giving voice to black American folk, blues, and spirituals. In her later career, she broadened her repertoire to include jazz stylings, and some acting.
Photo from WIkimedia Commons Video by YT member shariksharik
In my travels around the www I recently discovered a tiny little news item; it would have been easy to miss, but... Cincinnati station WBQC-TV (Channel 38) has officially changed it’s call letters to WKRP, to celebrate going digital. As someone who never missed an episode of the original show, I think that’s very newsworthy. Unfortunately for the newly-renamed station, reruns of the original show (which ran from 1978-1982 plus a brief rehash from 1991-93) are only available for cable, so that means the WKRP-TV in Cincinnati won’t actually be showing episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati on TV. Plus, it is apparently a very low-power station, so I doubt it would make it all the way across the lake to me anyway. That’s doubly too bad.
I remember the original WKRP fondly, with its list of supremely wacky characters. And you won’t be surprised to learn that my favorite was Dr. Johnny Fever, the brunt-out acid-flashbacking disco-hating ‘60s DJ, who addressed his listeners as “my fellow babies” – played to perfection by Howard Hesseman. And I loved that we’d hear snippets of my favorite oldies during the show. Now that I think of it, I have a couple of channels on my dish that recycle old shows (Beaver, Andy Griffith, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley) so I’m going to have to look for WKRP. Meanwhile, the opening credits ought to take you back...
Video by YT member vhsrobot Photo at http://blueopossum.homestead.com
That’s what the say, anyway. And since this is the third Beatles-related news item in a row (interrupted only by Thanksgiving) who are we to argue. This one has to do with the famous Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby. As you can imagine, right from the get-go everyone yes and no. Here’s the skinny:
LONDON (Reuters) – A 97-year-old document that contains clues to the identity of Eleanor Rigby, the subject of one of the Beatles' best-loved songs, sold for 115,000 pounds ($177,000) at auction on Thursday.The total fell well short of high estimates of around 500,000 pounds for the piece of Beatles memorabilia.
The money will go to the seller Annie Mawson and her charity the Sunbeams Music Trust (www.sunbeamsmusic.org), which uses music to help people with special needs. The manuscript is a salary register from Liverpool City Hospital and features the name and signature of E. Rigby, a scullery maid who has signed for her monthly wage. Her annual earnings were 14 pounds.According to Mawson, the document was sent to her in 1990 by former Beatle Paul McCartney when she wrote to him on behalf of her charity.
"I wrote ... to Paul and asked him for half a million pounds. But by the end of the letter I just said 'Look, I know you're a very caring person and I feel it's a privilege to share my story with you'," she told Reuters before the sale. "Nine months later, in June 1990, this amazing envelope arrived in the post. It was nine months after I'd written to him, which was part of the mystery because you always think it ended up in the waste paper basket."
She said the envelope containing the document dated 1911 featured an official Paul McCartney tour stamp. The singer was on a world tour around that time. Mawson did not immediately realize the importance of the register until she read the list of names and spotted E. Rigby.The document offers one of the clearest clues yet as to the identity of Eleanor Rigby, the woman in the song of the same name who dies alone with no one to mourn her. According to music Web sites, previously McCartney has said the heroine of the poignant song was fictional.
The grave of an Eleanor Rigby was also discovered in the churchyard of St. Peter's in Woolton, Liverpool, close to where McCartney met John Lennon in 1957. "I wonder just how much Paul McCartney meant to unmask when he passed it on," said Ted Owen, managing director of the Fame Bureau which sold the manuscript in London.
So it looks like another case of unconscious influence. Fellow Beatle George Harrison also wrote a song under such an influence (My Sweet Lord) but his unconsciousness was deemed plagiarism, and he had to ante up a boatload of money. Anyway, the overlooked person is all of this is Eleanor herself. I wonder what she wold make of all this world-wide fame!
Photo at www.ken-jennings.com (Yes,the brainiac Jeopardy champ) Video by YT member jromey5
Here we have something that is all the rage this Thanksgiving. Why have plain old turkey when you can have…turducken! (although if you’re just hearing about it now, it’s probably too late for this year). Anyhoo, I first heard about this a while ago, but thought it was a joke. Then I saw it on CNN and thus realized that it had to be a complete absolute and utter reality. And so it is. What is turducken? Vegetarians, read no further. Turducken is a TURkey that has been stuffed with a DUCK, which in turn has been stuffed with a chickEN. Get it? (of course there are three kinds of regular stuffing as well as the meat). That’s a turducken. Oh, and then you deep-fry the whole thing. Well, whatever you call it, it sounds like a mountain of work, because obviously (at least I hope it’s obvious) you have to remove a lot of bones before you stuff anything anywhere. Then, as I channel surfed away from CNN, I saw a commercial for a restaurant that offered a “Surf and Turf” special. Of course, Surf and Turf means Lobster (surf) and steak (turf). Hmmm. I think I see an opportunity to put together an even more obscene amount of fat and protein! Wrap the whole thing in a side of beef and clip it together with lobster claws, with a bucket of drawn butter on the side. Let’s call it SU for surf, TU for turkey, RF for turf, and of course UCKEN for the duck and chicken. What? Why are you snickering like that? You don’t think it sounds good?
There are quite a few videos on YouTube offering instructions on making a Turducken, including the one from CNN featuring Chef Paul. But I like this one, for reasons which you will probably be able to guess.
HAVE A HAPPY, WHICHEVER SIDE OF THE BORDER YOU'RE ON!
Video from YT member MrJeremiahWeed Photo of Turducken (aka “a heart attack on a plate”) from Wikimedia Commons
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the release of the White Album (but probably a coincidence) the Vatican has released a statement praising the Beatles music, and chalking up Lennon’s 1966 comment about Jesus as the bragging of a young man wrestling with unexpected success. And to the Vatican we say, Dudes, what took ya so long?!
If you are a baby boomer like me, or a student of musical history, then you will most likely be familiar with the big kafuffle involving John Lennon’s remark about the Beatles and Jesus. The controversy was huge. It was the Dixie Chicks/George Bush go-round of its day. Here’s the backstory. In an interview reported in 1966, Lennon was asked about Beatlemania, and he quipped that they were “more popular than Jesus now.” I remember hearing it at the time and thinking it merely meant that you could probably walk up to a group of tribal people living in one of the few remaining isolated areas of the planet and ask who Jesus was and get a blank stare, but mention the Beatles and they would break into broad grins and start chanting, “Yeah-yeah-yeah!” Okay maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.
After Lennon’s remark – which, in a situation eerily similar to the Dixie Chicks, was made in London but didn’t gain traction until is was reported stateside – the Bible Belt and conservative groups went nuts, just like they did with the Chicks, and burned loads of Beatles albums. Beatles music was banned on some radio stations, and concerts were cancelled. Even the KKK got into the act, burning the Beatles in effigy and nailing their albums to burning cross. At first, the Beatles’ reaction was to wryly observe that they had to purchase the albums first in order to burn them, but eventually, as things kept on getting worse, Lennon issued an apology, which the Vatican accepted at the time. Actually, Lennon was often misquoted as having said the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus” but personally, I don’t think the results would have been much different either way.
Anyway, in their recent statement, the Vatican also said that Beatles music is much better than the “standardized, stereotypical” music of today. Well, gotta say Amen to that!
Here's a Beatle selection that kind of fits the occasion, "I Should Have Known Better"
Video by YT member Beetulz Photo at www.planetware.com
They say timing is everything, and who are we to argue. I mean, they were right when they said, “Let the buyer beware” “Don’t wash your dirty linen in public” and of course, “You win some, you lose some.” On that note, I recently read that former Beatle Paul McCartney wants to release an obscure 1967 Beatles tape, a rather lengthy 14-minute song titled “Carnival of Light.” From the description (distorted guitar and organ, someone gargling, Paul and John shouting things like “Barcelona!” and asking, “Are you all right?” and other general random mayhem from the other group members) it sounds like a real post-Sgt. Pepper Dali-esque free-for-all. It’s been referred to as avant-garde, but isn’t that really just another way of saying post-Sgt. Pepper Dali- etcetc?
If one is a real solid Beatles aficionado, then this is probably a must-hear, and probably a must-have. I don’t quite fall into that category, but I might be inclined to listen to it on YouTube first, and then decide if I can’t live without it. What amuses me most is that McCartney is quoted as saying that, “…the time has come for it (Carnival of Light) to have its moment.” Well, that may be. But for me it’s kind of like a respected Hollywood actor doing a part in some goofy lightweight comedy that goes from theaters to DVD so fast the breeze lifts your hair. When those movies come out, I usually think: Oh man, So-and-so must want to put an addition on his swimming pool real bad. So here, we have Sir Paul, master tape of the original song in tow. It’s not a done deal yet; he needs to get permission from Ringo, Yoko, and Olivia Harrison first. So why would Paul need to earn himself some extra mo… Ooooh yeah (lightbulb clicking on). Like that old saying goes, “True love never runs smooth.”
Anyway, here’s one of my very favorite fun Beatles songs, while we’re waiting for Carnival of Light.
Video by YT member irenelemejo Marketplace photo from Wikimedia Commons
A friend of mine in Toronto just sent me a clipping from the Globe and Mail. It was an account of the troubled times, make that the very troubled times, of the Eagles. Now that I think of it, I vaguely remember hearing something along those lines, maybe it was back when they had the Hell Freezes Over tour (as in, This band is never getting back together unless…). But I have to admit, much as I enjoy their music, I just never got into the band’s trivia and personal details. I couldn’t point to their group photos and name you all the members. Don Henley is really the most recognizable to me. That may be heresy to some staunch Eagles fans, but what can I tell you. We all have our faves; I could put names to a good-sized lineup of doo-wop personnel.
Anyway, it seems the boys in the band were just too many large and robust egos under one roof. Or on one tour bus. Apparently they disagreed and fought over a lot of different things which all ultimately came down to money. Surprise! And now, Don Felder (is he the one with the really long hair?) has written a book titled Heaven and Hell: My Life with The Eagles (1974-2001). I suppose now that he’s had his say, other books by other Eagles will follow. So, if you’re a diehard fan, start hinting for Christmas.
For our musical interlude, here is one of my very favorite Eagles tunes – Seven Bridges Road. It’s a really great country-esque song that I first heard it done by Rita Coolidge. The Eagles do it a cappella, and the audience is loving it. So give us a little smile, Don.
Photo from www.frontrowking.com Video by YT member DrMabuse06
The term “Daddy” and its variants, “Daddy-O” (or Daddio) and “Dad” have been through some time and changes. It goes back at least to the 1940s when NOLA disc jockey Vernon Winslow used it as part of his on-air moniker. I remember it mostly from the 1950s and the hepcat-beatnik era. In 1957, the doo-wop group The Rays released what would become their big hit, “Silhouettes” with “Daddy Cool” on the flip side. Flip side. There’s a term that the iPod generation won’t understand. It means the song on the other side of a record, sometimes called the B-side. Records are flat discs that look something like CDs but are way cooler. Then, if you’re of a certain age, like me, you probably remember the TV show 77Sunset Strip (1958-64) and Kookie, the Edd Byrnes character Kookie was the valet-parking-detective-wannabe-hair-combing-heartthrob of the show. Kookie called everybody Dad, the same way kids today call everybody Dude. I think Dude is fine, but I’m secretly hoping Daddio will make a comeback. In fact, I think I’ll start using it on my male friends and see what happens. I invite any of you out there in the Blogiverse to do the same. Daddio hasn’t really gone away; it’s just waiting there for someone to re-cooligize it. We can do it!
Here are the two YouTube videos for our double bill of hits. I think they’re both real gone, daddio. (Now doesn't that sound great?!)
Daddy Cool video by YT member ladyrockndoowop Kookie, Kookie video by YT member GjuroKaiser Photo at www.tvparty .com
If you like snappy 60s R&B, then you know The Orlons. While I’m sure there are plenty of other groups named after cloth, The Orlons are probably the best remembered. They started out in the late 50s as a five-member girl group, Audrey and the Teenettes. After losing a couple of the girls down to a trio, they added a guy (and what a guy, what a voice!) and became The Orlons. They took their name from a popular 60s manmade fabric as a kind of spoof on a rival school group, The Cashmeres. Well, if we’re talking fabrics, cashmere has the rep for being real pricey and aristocratic compared to lowly synthetic Orlon, but since we’re talking about music…the Orlons win hands down. I’m not saying the Cashmeres didn’t have a sound, but …how many hits by The Cashmeres do you remember? As for durable Orlons, there’s “South Street” “The Wah-Watusi” “Don’t Hang Up” “Cross Fire” and my particular fave, “Not Me.” Not bad for a group named after a synthetic fiber. You know what they say: Better living through chemistry.
The Orlons: Rosetta Hightower, Shirley Brickley, Marlena, Stephen Caldwell. "Don't Hang Up" - a song about a phone call between a teen girl and boy. The girl innocently goes out with some friends, winds up at a dance (not her idea) and decides, as long as she's there, to "be a sport" and have a dance. Wouldn't you know it - her boyfriend walks into the dance and catches her! But wait a sec, who was that chick he had clinging to his arm?!! Too bad we didn't get to hear the rest of the conversation. Is it too late for an 'answer song'?
Video by YT member hwaj5300 Photo at www.fasttrackproducts.com
I came across this video on YouTube a while back, and thought it was some of the coolest dancing I'd ever seen: I had discovered Northern Soul dancing. Apparently, Northern Soul dance moves can sometimes be quite similar to break dancing, but these look more like 60s moves, which is where Northern Soul got its start. It's too bad the video is so fuzzy. I wouldn't normally choose a video this poor to use in a post, but like I said, it's just so cool. And it looks pretty aerobic, too. Makes me wonder if any of those young people could be smokers and still dance like that! Northern Soul looks like a good workout. I'd give it a try myself, but I don't think I have the brain-foot coordination for it; it looks too much like that old 60s dance craze, the Mashed Potatoes, and I never could master that one. I've seen the instructional videos, watched plenty of people do it, and...nothing. To save myself some face, I can assure you that I am pretty good at just about every other 60s dance craze dance, but somehow the Mashed Potatoes still eludes me.
NORTHERN SOUL DANCING
MASHED POTATO TIME, by Dee Dee sharp
Mashed Potato video by YT member soulrocket N. Soul video by YT member keepingthefaith72
Miriam Makeba, Mama Afrika, Dies at 76 After Concert (Update2) By Nicky Smith
Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Miriam Makeba, the South African recording artist known as ``Mama Afrika'' who was exiled from her own country during apartheid, died of a heart attack last night after giving a concert in Italy. She was 76.
The Grammy-winning Makeba ``collapsed as she was leaving the stage,'' South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said in an e-mailed statement today. Makeba, who brought the music of her continent to a global audience in the 1960s, had been performing at the Vastel Volturno in the province of Caserta, 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of the city of Naples.
``One of the greatest songstresses of our time, Miriam Makeba, has ceased to sing,'' Dlamini Zuma said. ``South Africa's goodwill ambassador died performing what she did best -- an ability to communicate a positive message through the art of singing.''
For complete article click HERE Photo from zar.2.za/makeba/htm Video by YT member jameycruz
Okay, this is where we separate the sheep from the goats, the men/women from the boys/girls, the mere trivia freaks from the truly gifted trivia geeks. Whoever and wherever you are, I need your help. I am trying to think of some trivia connected to a particular piece of music from the 60s, and can’t come up with the answer. It hasn’t quite kept me up at night, but that might not be far off. I can get really obsessive about these things (oh really?). And I’ve come across this quest up there in the dusty recesses of my musical memory, off and on, for a long time. Here’s what I can tell you:
The song is called either “La Montana (If She Should Come To You)” or maybe it’s “If She Should Come To You (La Montana).” I tried Googling it, but almost everything I got is either beyond my meager capabilities in Spanish, or Hannah-related.
Several musicians have recorded it, with lyrics (including Anthony Newley) and as an instrumental (Roger Williams, for one). It’s the instrumental version I’m interested in. I am convinced it was used in a movie, perhaps as the movie’s main theme. I’m going crazy; I’m wracking my brain. I thought the movie might have been The Sundowners, but once I listened to that theme again, I remembered it, and it isn’t the one.
So my question to all you music trivia freaks and geeks out there, what movie is this from? Or, if not a movie, where do I know it from? Maybe it was just one of the many instrumental hits in the 60s and not from a movie? Help! If anyone can tell me, please send me a website or any kind of documentation, and put an end to my many years of wondering and searching. I will be forever in your trivial debt. So much so that I would be pleased to reward you by sending one of your kids to college. Kidding! How about I send you a copy of my music trivia book, "Papa Do Run" instead?
About four posts ago (Nov 1st) I mentioned a few country crossovers in the vintage years. One glaring omission (mea culpa!) was Sonny James. How I could forget this is beyond me. Chalk it up to Boomer Brain or something, because I totally dig this song! Anyway, Sonny had a huge hit back in 1957 with “Young Love” He didn’t write it, however. It was penned in 1956 by Ric Cartey and Carol Joyner. I discovered in my research that Cartey actually recorded it first, but it didn’t really gain attention until Sonny recorded it on January 5, 1957. Then it became the first country song to ascend both the country and pop charts. He wasn’t the only one to have a big hit with this. The same song was a simultaneous (January 19, 1957) hit for teen movie heartthrob Tab Hunter – and actually charted higher than Sonny’s version. That’s how it was done back then. A song was often recorded by more than one artist at the same time, and they let them battle it out on the airwaves. I don’t mind Tab’s version, I guess. It’s hard to totally mess up such a great love song like this one, but it is kind of white bread. Not as white bread as Pat Boone’s covers of Little Richard tunes, mind you, but close. Sonny James, on the other hand, really puts his heart and soul into it. Sonny has had a long and full career, with plenty of well-deserved recognition. He continued to record until his retirement in 1983, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He never had another pop crossover hit like “Young Love” but that one gets played regularly on the oldie stations. And you can’t keep a good song down. It’s also been covered by The Crew-Cuts (also 1957), The Rolling Stones, Ray Stevens and Donny Osmond, and others. Here’s some great b/w footage of Sonny in country attire, sing about that young love. Sigh.
Video by YT member DKenUCLA Photo from www.top40db.net
Last night I was watching that special by the crew at SNL, pulling together all their wonderful spoofs on the current election, and moments from elections past. It occurred to me that so much has changed over the years since I was old enough, it not to vote, at least to be paying attention to politics. The first US presidential election that made any impact on me was the 1960 one between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. I remember we had a "mock debate" at my grade school (and it got pretty heated, as I recall, at least for a bunch of 13-year-olds). And on the radio, we had a cute little novelty song, called "Report to the Nation." This was a spoof interview with candidate named (I think it was) Finnerty as John F. Kennedy, by newscasters Nutley and Winkly (aka Huntley and Brinkley). The interviewers asked questions and the candidate's answers were all spliced bits of lyrics from well-known songs of the day. It was a laff-riot...back then anyway. Then we advanced to the silly and sophisticated era of SNL, and their hilarious election spoofs, in the heyday of Chevy Chase et al, with folks gathered around the TV. And now we have YouTube, and a media culture that's completely portable. Everybody is getting into the act, and items can be around the world in literally minutes. I looked in vain to find Nutley and Winkly on YouTube, so I can't post it for you here. Oh well, some of the references would be pretty obscure to the younger set. Even some of the early SNL material would be pretty out-of-date by now. So today, the big Election Day, I'll just post one of my favorites. It's made the rounds, and been on a few blogs, but it's just too good to miss, so if you haven't seen it before, you'll be glad you did. Even if you're of a different political persuasion, you have to admit, in your heart of hearts, this is funny. Plus, there's some real genuine talent here!
Video by YT member pfte1 Photo at www.davidsarnoff.org.com
“I got the boogie-woogie like a knife in the back”
We’re introducing a new feature here at Papa Do Run, called Great Lines of Rock and Roll. Every so often, on a completely irregular and wholly unpredictable basis, we’ll be posting a line from a popular vintage song, and we can all appreciate its verbal dexterity, marvel at its ability to describe exactly how-it-is, and generally be amazed at how lucky we are to have been born in a time of such life-enhancing wisdom, not to mention coolness.
Today’s feature is from this irrepressibly rockin’ song. You might want to test yourself first and see if you can remember the title - no one is going to ask how you did. Honest.
Video by YT member DKenUCLA It's true, there are better versions of this song on YouTube, but this one is such a fifties artifact, even with that annoying counter, I just had to go with it.
What’s rock and roll without a little bit of country? Just think about how many of the early singing sensations and teen heartthrobs were country crossovers: the Every Brothers, Brenda Lee, Jim Reeves, Jimmie Rodgers, Bobbie Gentry, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, on and on. And happily, the tradition is still alive and well. Mellow-voiced singer Darius Rucker, better known as Hootie of Hootie and the Blowfish, has achieved a real milestone in his career recently when he became only the third African-American to have a number 1 hit on country radio (USA Today’s country singles airplay chart). With his song, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” Darius joins some big names. Charley Pride, probably best known for “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” had several dozen number 1 hits from the late 60s until 1983. The second black singer to top the country chart was Ray Charles (along with Willie Nelson) in 1985, with “Seven Spanish Angels.” But don’t worry, all you H&TBF fans; Hootie says he will still record and perform with the Blowfish band when the time and material are right. But for now, he’s gone country. And we’re glad he did. Here’s some great old footage of Charlie, Ray and The Hootster. What? You mean it’s not hip to use “ster” any more? Oh, I’m glad you told me.
Here's three videos of the for your viewing and listening pleasure. The one of Ray and Willie is especially neat, with the two of them goofing around at the piano. Man, there just isn't anyone quite like Ray Charles!
CHARLEY PRIDE - KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNING http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9Fy6SQosQs
RAY and WILLIE - SEVEN SPANISH ANGELS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63A__INJecI
DARIUS RUCKER - DON'T THINK I DON'T THINK ABOUT IT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ9MHFr89NM
Halloween Night To Do List: Candy in the big bowl by the door - check. Porchlight on - check. Spooky music in the background - wait...what to play!?! Well, here's a fun Halloween compilation I found on YouTube, to give you some ideas, and get everybody get in the spirit (pun intended) of things. What do you bet there's going to be a lot of little Palins and Obamas out there this year?
DISCLAIMER: This video is labeled Top 10 Halloween songs, but does not necessarily represent the picks of Papa Do Run.
Video by YT member yankee0412 Candy corn photo from Wikimedia Commons
It's hard to comprehend that it's been almost twenty years since we lost Roy - he passed away on December 6, 1988. The other day I heard "Blue Bayou" on the oldies station, and that got me thinking about all the other great songs he did that don't get played often enough. "Pretty Woman" gets played all the time, but great as that one is, I'm always glad to hear stations break out of their familiar programming ruts and play more variety. In the same spirit, I decided it was high time we listened to some here at Papa Do Run. The info on the video doesn't say so, but this footage is from the HBO concert, as described in Wikipedia:
In September of 1987, Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night, a black-and-white HBO television special was recorded at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Orbison was accompanied by a who's-who supporting cast organized by musical director T-Bone Burnett. All were fans and all were volunteers who lobbied to participate. On piano was Glen Hardin, who played for Buddy Holly as well as Elvis Presley for several years. Lead guitarist James Burton had also played with Presley and Ricky Nelson. Male background vocals, with some also playing the guitar or piano, came from Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Steven Soles. A "million-dollar" trio of Jennifer Warnes, k.d. Lang and Bonnie Raitt provided female background vocals. He was also joined by keyboardist Michael Utley, a long time member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. All members of this first-class group of supporting artists displayed great respect and admiration for Roy. This TV special performance brought Orbison to the attention of a younger generation.
So without further ado, here's the great Roy-O and "Blue Angel"
Video from YT member youralone Photo at www.meanspeed.com
This is one of those posts where we take a really big leap out of the vintage years, all the way into the 80s –oh my! But there’s a subtle connection, if you’ll humor me a little. Let me set it up for you. Back in the 1980s, I was working in the fine arts biz in Alberta, Canada. The oil boom was well underway, corporations were moving their head offices from Toronto (aka Hog Town) to the Calgary (aka Cow Town). It seemed like every third person you met was from Houston, and money was practically falling out of the sky. And with that much money, things that would not have mattered as much under different economic conditions became all the rage. The downtown bristled with building cranes, and all those big shiny new office towers had lots of bare walls. A corporate art collection became a must-have. In the uptown area of the city, it seemed like there was an art gallery on every corner. It also seemed like every company that had more than six employees had it’s own official art collection. Oil companies and legal offices led the charge, but even the hospitals were getting into the act. And of course, all the private citizens had collections, too. That was the community I worked in, and it was quite an experience. There was so much money to be had, that there was only a modest competition between galleries. Usually everyone knocked off work around the same time and headed down the street to the local cantina for happy hour. That's when I got my introduction to the music of Doug and the Slugs, a Canadian band out of Vancouver. One of the fellows from a friendly rival gallery, who knew of my taste for the oldies, said, “You should check out this group, I think you’d like them – it’s kind of 50s/80s music.
That was a good way to describe it, although I just looked them up in Wikipedia, and they are now being labeled as “alternative pop.” Well, that fits, too. Doug and the Slugs were a pretty zany bunch, musically, but were also very musically solid. They has a good run for close to ten 10 years, after which lead singer Doug Bennett continued to tour with a revolving set of musicians until his untimely death in 2004. I had the good fortune to hear them live once, and it was something to behold!
I hope you are ready to have some fun. If this sounds familiar to you, then you get points for being a real TV trivia fanatic. This song, “Too Bad,” from D&TS first album, Cognac and Bologna, was the theme song on The Norm Show (1999-2001) starring comedian Norm MacDonald (also of SNL anchor desk fame). Okay, let’s dance!
Video from YT member mojofilter02 Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Last night I was channel surfing among several of the music stations on my dish, trying to avoid all the election coverage, while waiting for the SNL Thursday spoof of the election coverage. Like many people at this late stage of the game (and I do mean game) I’d much rather watch a spoof than the real thing. I’m a real political junkie, but the US election crossed over into the rather-have-a-root-canal category for me some time ago. As someone who has lived and voted in both the US and Canada, I can tell you, Canada is waaaay easier. For example, how many of you even knew Canada just had an election – hands? I thought so. Once it was announced that an election was coming, the whole thing took a mere 37 days and cost just over 300 mil. I kid you not. Anyway, I’m digressing again. What I really want to tell you about is that, as I surfed, I happened to catch the old ABBA song, “Chiquitita.” Well, have to stop for that one. And wonder of wonders, as I listened to the old familiar lyrics…I suddenly heard…something different! Yes, it’s true. Thanks to the wonders of crisp new digital sound, I discovered another bit of misheard lyrics I’d been living with in my head since…hold on a sec, let me go look it up…1979! There’s that one part where they sing:
“Chiquitita you and I know / How the heartaches come and they go /________________”
Okay, here’s where my revelation comes. The actual words that go in the space above are “and the scars they’re leaving.” Maybe you always knew that. Maybe you had the album with lyrics. Maybe you have a better ear. But to me, that missing phrase was always “on the Champs-Elysees.” I mean, why not? After all, ABBA was a European group, with all the continental stuff that implies. They could have been to the Champs-Elysees many times, for all we know. And, don’t forget, we’re talking Paris here. Not only that, we’re talking about of the most famous romantic spots in town. Trysting in the cafes, meeting clandestinely in the cinema. I’m sure people get their hearts broken there all the time. Plus, the instrumentation has a kind of a turn-of-the-century Folies Bergere feel to it, even if the title is Spanish. Hey, Spain is in Europe too! Come on, you know it makes a certain sense. No? Well, it doesn’t matter; it’s all behind me now.
And now that I know what the real lyrics are, I suppose I should be happy, but somehow I’m not. Sometimes what you incorrectly imagine can be preferable to what is actual. It’s always going to look like a Toulouse-Lautrec painting in my head. So, have a listen and see what you think of my musical misadventure, and try to be kind...
Video by YT member kamy876 Photo from answers.com/cancan
Another famous song about the color black – this time it’s “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones. This particular one was a hit in 1966, right at the beginning of the “Pallenberg years” when the Stones wrote many of their most memorable (to me anyway) songs. Anita Pallenberg, for those who may have missed it (easy to do) was a sort of combination muse and figurehead of the Stones for a while. She had two documented relationships with Stones members, and at least one rumored/unattested hook up with another. Some people think Paint It Black was inspired by Pallenberg, and others say it was Marianne Faithfull. Well, I don’t really want to get into a dissertation on the Rolling Stones love lives here, it would take up way too much time and space, and you can easily find all the info you might want at Wikipedia, so I’ll just sum it up and say that I don’t think the timeline works for either of those ladies.
Basically, this song seems to be about a guy who has lost his girlfriend –lost as in dead – and features all kinds of bleak imagery, including a funeral procession. For this reason, Paint It Black has been used to set a certain dark mood in many pop culture sectors, most especially movie soundtracks and TV episodes: Full Metal Jacket, Tour of Duty, For Love of the Game, Nip/Tuck, Stir of Echoes, The Sopranos. And, just as you might expect, a lot of people see a lot of different themes in it: depression, war, drugs, nihilism, even race relations (hey, I didn’t say they made any sense). Speaking of sense, or make that nonsense, I very briefly tried to find out if Weird AL had done a parody of Paint It Black, with no luck. My attention span just wasn’t up for anything in depth, so maybe someone out there knows and will tell us. Anyway, if he didn’t write one, he should. Paint It Black is just about sitting up on its hind legs begging for Al to pat it on the head.
For those who like their music trivia really small, there’s the matter of the comma in the title. You can see it on several album releases as “Paint It, Black” but Keith Richards has stated that the comma was a later addition by the record label, and not intended to be in the original title. That’s why I don’t use it here. Beside, I don’t like it myself, either. It sounds a little stuffy, like the way James Bond might request something painted. “My name is Bond, James Bond, and I wanted it painted, black. Painted, not papered.” I could probably think up a few more bad Bond puns, but you’ll be relieved to know that I’m not going to try. So let’s have a listen, and let the pounding drums and winding sitar take us back.
This video provides lyrics, including some inaccuracies, typos, and grammar glitches, but it has decent audio.
Photo from www.curust.ie Video by YT member emilyrose6894
The other day I was listening to the oldies station on my satellite dish, and they played “Black is Black” by Los Bravos. What a great song that is, and sounds surprisingly contemporary for something that was a hit all the way back in 1966. Anyway, as I was contemplating this song, I realized that I know nothing about Los Bravos, but if you had asked me, I probably would have said they were an American band, from maybe the West coast. Also, I was pretty sure that Black is Black was a one-hit-wonder (OHW) and that was about it. So I Googled Los Bravos, and then I Wiki’ed them. And what a surprise!
It turns out that I was right about the OHW thing, but beyond that, I could not have been more wrong. The group Los Bravos is what the Wiki writer calls a Spanish beat group. They are all Spaniards, from Spain except for their Gene Pitney dead ringer sound alike lead singer, who is a German, from Germany. As Jack Benny used to say, “Well!” While they charted a couple more modest hits in the UK, Black is Black was their only charting US Billboard hit (all the way to #4 in the Top Hot 100).
So, here is the group singing their famous song, and a little Gene Pitney tune for comparison. I just love Gene’s voice, and all of his songs, but I picked this one, Mecca, because the similarities are easy to hear. It occurs to me, though, how times have changed. I wonder if anyone these days would see releasing a song about Mecca as a risk, given the way things are. A question without an answer, for sure.
Los Bravos video by YT member lauuu Gene Pitney video by YT member Brent441 Photo from www.sassyscrubs.com (really!)
The Motown legend and lead singer of The Four Tops (photo front) died peacefully in his sleep today, at his home in Detroit. His soulful voice warmed Tops hits like "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" "Reach Out, I'll Be There" and my personal favorite, the 1964 hit "Baby I Need Your Loving." Back then I was a junior in high school, looking forward to my senior year and then to graduating. Now, so many years later, it's hard any time we lose one of the classic greats, but this one really knocked be back when I read about it. It's not only the loss of a talented musician, but I think it puts all us baby boomers in touch with our own mortality. Our class is beginning to graduate in a different sense of the term. Well, that's the way it always goes. And now it's time to say good-bye to Levi, with thanks for all the music.
Video by YT member HauntedStudios Photo from blackamericans.com
As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big Bee Gees fan. I like the early ballads just fine, but am not too keen on their disco era stuff. It's fine with me if you like it; it's all about personal taste, right? Anyway, under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't be selecting this song to feature, but after last night, when the Red Sox fought back from the brink of the abyss, I just have to do something in recognition of their accomplishment. Now, you may also recall me saying I am a big Tigers fan. Well, that's true, but my close second team to cheer for is the Sox. Of course, this time with the Tigers out of it, I hope the Sox go all the way. I'll even be optimistic and start thinking about a song for that possibility. For now, the Sox are Stayin' Alive...
Before I close, I just have to give a shoutout to fellow music blogger Kat, over at Keep The Coffee Coming, who is a mondo Sox fan, and who is probably still recovering from last night. Sorry this video is filmed in New York, Kat!
Video by YT member Ichnos71x Photo from www.kmmm.net
My fellow baby boomers, is it just me, or was this song a harbinger of things to come, and we didn’t even know it? I mean, think about how frequently these days we hear of female teachers who massively overstep their professional bounds and have ‘affairs’ (that’s putting it politely!) with their young male students. How could such a thing come to pass? Well, it just so happens that I have my own (totally tongue-in-cheek, naturally) theory.
Think about the photos you’ve seen of some of these offending teachers. I can think of at least three who all looked to be in their mid-to-late twenties, all had long sleek hair, all looked appealing in a reality TV cookie-cutter blonde sort of way. Just the very thing an adolescent boy in the throes of a hormonal high tide would find distracting at the very least. Now think about the teachers you remember from your own high school days. Uh-huh. Even the younger female teachers looked middle-aged back then. It was the hair and glasses and styles. You could probably give those 1950s and 60s teachers a 21st Century makeover, and they might even look…dare I say it…hot? Well, maybe so, but that’s not my main point. What I'm saying is, here we have a song about a younger teacher in the 1960s, who roars into the faculty parking lot in a Jag, wears a sloppy sweater (what??) and a pony tail (seriously??) to teach in, and who makes the local policeman blanch. She can teach the required subject all right, but she throws in a couple of popular teen dance crazes, too. That’s not any teacher I ever saw. Furthermore, it seems that between classes, Ms Beecher is out in the halls playing guitar in sunglasses instead of monitoring student activity. And she showed up at a PTA meeting with a red surfboard! Well, no wonder the kids all dug her, but you have to think that it’s just a matter of time before she…oh let’s not even contemplate going there. It’s obvious that no one put a stop to this kind of thing, and now we are reaping the results today. For the most part, I like to stick up for vintage oldies. I don’t think of rock and roll as a social or moral evil. But there’s always that one exception
Video by YT member JBauder1948 Photo from http://ocw.mit.edu
Okay,this one is going out to all the Canadians who ate too much Thanksgiving turkey and other goodies over the weekend. Time to get up and start working it off - and what better way to do that than to dance to some Fats Domino - in this case I've selected something I think is very appropriate, "The Fat Man." Come on now, let's go shake the floor!
Just a bit of extra info here - this is one of Fats' earliest hits, dating back to 1949. Ho-lee! I was only two years old then! Of course you're never too young or too old to boogie woogie.
Video from YT member checkingmail Photo from Wikimedia Commons
I'm happy to announce that my computer is once again up and running, and for that I am truly THANKFUL!! Not only that, it's Canuck Turkey Day, so a lot of people north of the 49th (or the 42nd I my neck of the woods) are being thankful. So, before you tuck into that big meal and eat your faces off, don't forget to say grace. Here's a little something from those Masters of Soul, Sam and Dave, to get you in the mood. Don't forget to turn up your speakers...
Photo from Wikimedia Comons Video from YT member jameycruz
I’m in the mood for a little Connie Francis this morning, so I found this terrific video on YouTube. Not only is it a great montage of still and footage of Connie singing, but also it’s a real trip down memory lane ending up in my old clothes closet. Granted, Connie is a little older than me, but styles didn’t change all that radically until the late 60s, so I remember pretty much all of this, except maybe the ‘cocktail’ dress she’s wearing in her performance. Ladies, here’s a quick checklist of 1959 fashion; see how many you remember wearing, just like Connie:
1) shirt-waist dresses 2) Capri pants 3) crinolines and petticoats 4) pumps 5) pointy bras 6) sweater clips (you can’t actually see them, but you know she’s got them, at 1:05 ) 7) halter-top sundresses 8) checkered gingham 9) pearl choker 10) bouffant (aka bubble) hairdos 11) spaghetti straps 12) chiffon dresses
The photo at 1:01 is about as close to a “wardrobe malfunction” as anyone ever got in those days; it was probably pretty daring back then. And don’t miss the guy with the flat-top at 0:58
Video by YT member JBauder1948 Photo is of a picture sleeve from my 45-rpm collection
Sadly, we have lost another member of the doo-wop extended family with the passing of George (Wydell) Jones this Saturday, at age 71. You may not know the name, but you surely will remember the song he famously penned, a snappy tribute to one to those saddle-shoe boppers, a little gal by the name of Rama Lama Ding Dong. Jones not only wrote the song, he sang it as part of the doo-wop group, The Edsels. Rama Lama's song was recorded in 1958, but didn't come into its own until a few years later when a New York DJ started playing it. Then it reached #21 on the Billboard chart in 1961, the year I graduated from elementary school and was gearing up for the big leap to high school. I loved Rama Lama Ding Dong back then, and have been dancing, listening and singing along for over 40 years, and counting. So thanks, George, we won't forget you!
This has been one of those mornings: a cup of coffee, a few white caps on the lake, and some quiet time before I start my day. What goes better with that than a little Arthur Alexander? So I went over to YouTube to browse around and see what was new. I’ve been waiting for someone to put up a video on Arthur’s hit song, “Where Have You Been” so we can enjoy it here. I got excited to see that one was finally there, but alas, it’s only a homemade cover. It may be a nice cover – I didn’t really listen to more than the opening bars, because today I wanted the real thing. While looking at what else was there, I found something unexpected: Arthur’s cover of the Neil Diamond song, Solitary Man. And it’s wonderful. If you don’t know Arthur’s voice, you’re in for a real treat.
Well, of course right away I wanted to know more about this song, especially where I could get my hands on it. Apparently, while I wasn’t looking, the CD (which I have) titled Arthur Alexander – Lonely Just Like Me, with a 12-song tracklist, has been reissued with 21 tracks, including some interviews (it's called Lonely Just Like Me - The Final Chapter, if you go looking for it) I wasted no time ordering it from Amazon already, and will be counting the days and hours til it gets here. Arthur Alexander never had the career and recognition he should have. Today he is best remembered for writing songs covered by the Beatles, The Stones, Dusty Springfield, and other 60s giants. He was a prolific singer/songwriter, and that’s what makes his cover of Solitary Man such a find. I also really like Neil Diamond; I’ve always liked his upbeat treatment of Solitary Man. But Arthur put the hurt into it as only he can.
Here's the Amazon notes: Amazon.com Admired as a songwriter but overlooked as soul singer, Alabama-born Arthur Alexander was in the early stages of a career revival in 1993 (the year he released Lonely Just Like Me on Nonesuch Records) when he died unexpectedly, aged 53, shortly after a performance. Believed to be the only songwriter whose songs have been covered by the Rolling Stones ("You Better Move On"), the Beatles ("Anna"), Bob Dylan, and Elvis Presley, Alexander abandoned music at age 40 after he grew disillusioned with the music industry after publishing deals yielded little return for him. He worked in Cleveland at a center for disadvantaged kids and drove a bus, which explains the disc's cover art. Musician/producer Ben Vaughn coaxed Alexander to record again and served as producer for Lonely Just Like Me, a warm, understated collection of storytelling tunes, mostly hard-luck tales of upright men struggling to find a niche in an unfair word. This disc includes the entire '93 Nonesuch recording plus an enlightening interview/live performance (tracks 13-20) originally broadcast on NPR's Fresh Air. Here, Alexander's genuineness and sincerity are memorably chronicled, and for Alexander devotees its inclusion makes this recording an especially inviting package. Alexander's voice did not have the broadest range, he rarely used backup vocalists, and he kept his instrumentation (often accented with a subtle country lilt) quite simple. His most endearing quality as a vocalist was the earnestness, clarity, and dignity of his singing, which deepened the poignancy of his songs' prevailing theme of heartbreak. Also included are five lo-fi hotel-room demos, a live version of "Anna," and liner notes from Vaughn. --Terry Wood
Video from YT member boogie2w Photo from www.rhapsody.com
Over at one of my fave music blogs, Keep The Coffee Coming, we recently had a mystery artist to identify. It really had me goin’ for a while, and I have to admit I was stumped right up til the final ‘reveal.’ I highly recommend you head over there and have a listen to the Sunday, September 28 post titled “Blue Shadows on the Trail” aka “I Never See Maggie Alone” and see if you can guess who it is. And if you don’t want a spoiler, don’t look at the comments first!
All this guessing got me thinking about some of the more or less obscure oldies we don’t hear often enough. One of my favorites is a sweet little Brill Building number by Greenwich/Barry) and recorded by the girl group called The Butterflys. Happily there is a video of it on YouTube, so you can hear it again. The only thing better would be if it had footage of the gals performing it, but we can’t be too picky. So here it is – have a listen to the lyrics and remember your own early dating days.
Photo from www.fiftiesweb.com Video by YT member VinylRecords60
As you’ve no doubt seen and heard on the news, Israel has lifted its long-standing ban on the Beatles, and allowed former member Paul McCartney to play in concert there. Politically speaking (and we know we can never get fully away from that, anywhere!) I think Sir Paul did his level best to play it down the middle, bringing his music to both sides as a “message of peace,” and if you want all the 411 on that, you can easily find it online, so I won’t cover it here. Besides, what I think is most interesting is seeing news footage of all the grizzled old Boomer-age folks over there, all excited about seeing and hearing McCartney perform. I think it’s really a shame that those fans never had the chance to see all four of the mop-tops play together. But, I’m sure they are delighted to have Paul there, and no one is going to complain. The event is already being labeled the “Israeli Woodstock”
Here's a little clip of the concert. Even if it's long overdue, isn't it great to see everyone having such a good time?! That's the power of music, folks.
Video from YT member bartcase Photo from Wikimedia Commons
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.